By Louise McHenry, ERJ staff
Mumbai -- From the 13 May 2011, all tyres and tubes in India will need to meet standardisation from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), and have an appropriate mark on the sidewall, equivalent to the CE mark in Europe.
The new government legislation means that tyre dealers can only stock and sell tyres which have an ISI (Indian Standards Institute) mark on the sidewall. The standardisation covers both domestic and imported tyre makers, regardless of company size.
The bill was first issued by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion in 2009, but was twice extended by six months in response to the Indian tyre industry's request for more time to prepare.
RK Agarwal of Modi Tyre Co. Ltd. told ERJ in a 21 April interview that as far as standards were concerned, â€œwe in India feel that such legislation is always welcome,â€ as long as there is sufficient time to prepare. He added that the government extension was helpful in allowing manufacturers to equip themselves for the changes.
â€œNow all the players - the tyre manufacturers and the people who sell tyres - they are ready. They can mark their products. They have already started doing so,â€ Agarwal said.
He commented that the industry was well equipped to adopt the legislation and that it was in line with the requirements of the consumers. â€œIt's good to say that yes, we produce a product of a very high standard, therefore it is a win-win situation for the industry and for consumers over here,â€ Agarwal said.
Arnab Banerjee, sales and marketing director at tyre company Ceat Ltd., agreed that customers will benefit from the certification, as it will â€œweed out fly-by-night operations who take the customers for a ride while making a fast buck.â€ He added, â€œOrganisations who are committed to their customers in the long-term will have no problems in complying to BIS.â€
Local reports suggested that tube and tyre imports could see a drop of about 40 percent over the next few months as foreign tyre makers adjust to the new rules. However, Rajiv Budhraja, director general of the Automotive Tyre Manufacturer's Association (ATMA) in India, said that legislation on quality rarely affects the volume of import into a country.
â€œIf some overseas producer or domestic importer has not obtained the certification, the share of such [a company] can be more than compensated by increased imports from an overseas [company] which has obtained BIS certification for its products, as has been done by several global players who are exporting tyres to India,â€ Budhraja said.
And Agarwal noted that many manufacturers abroad, in China and elsewhere, already have the approval and will be exporting tyres to India with those markings, while others meet similar standards in their countries and now have a chance to prepare to export to India.
Banerjee added that it would only adversely impact imports from â€œfly-by-night sourcesâ€. â€œI do not think that it will impact imports from brands that are eyeing the Indian market seriously and are preparing to play here for the long-term,â€ he said.
The standardisation requires that each product from each different factory requires certification. BIS will verify each plant's manufacturing capability, and carry out independent testing on product samples. Periodical audits of plants and production will also be required.
BIS is to hold a series of seminars over the next two months in order to create awareness among tyre makers and consumers about the effects of standardisation.